Movie Review: Portals (2019)

“Well, the doctor interrupted me just about then, Sayin, ‘Hey I’ve been havin’ the same old dreams, But mine was a little different you see. I dreamt that the only person left after the war was me. I didn’t see you around.’” — Bob Dylan, “Talking World War III Blues” Portals begins with a white…

Movie Review: Harpoon (2019)

Rob Grant’s Harpoon is another entry in the perennial argumentative-people-stranded-on-a-boat sub-genre, and it’s a cut above the average. It is, however, a stranger to subtlety, and juvenile at times, but it’s never boring and consistently bold in its narrative choices. Take the opening scene for example. Richard (Christopher Gray, “The Mist” TV series) storms over…

Movie Review: Young Ahmed (2019)

Over the last twenty years, the Dardenne brothers’ (“The Unknown Girl”) social realist dramas about the forgotten and the marginalized have been honored at the Cannes Film Festival with two Palme d’Ors, two Best Performance awards, one Best Screenplay award, and one Grand Prix. Their magic is still in evidence in their latest film, Young…

Movie Review: Parasite (2019)

South Korean director Bong Joon-ho (“Okja”) says that he always tries to overturn viewer expectations and hopes that his latest film succeeds in this way. Palme d’Or winner at the 2019 Cannes Film festival, Bong’s Parasite (Gisaengchung) does indeed thwart expectations, but the question is — to what end? Defying any strict genre classification, the…

Movie Review: Joker (2019)

Shakespeare’s Richard III famously said I can smile, and murder while I smile. The Joker has long been a character who will smile and cackle while he murders and terrorizes. In previous cinematic incarnations, the Joker has been a crime boss fried in acid (Jack Nicholson), an anarchic terrorist (Heath Ledger) and a pimped out…

Movie Review: Those Who Remained (2019)

“And it feels like it’s so long till morning” — Kate Rusby, “Until Morning” While many holocaust survivors openly express rage and uncontrolled bitterness towards their persecutors, other survivors display only an emotional deadness and a pervasive feeling of being alone and scared. In the movie “Fateless,” Gyuri, a young man sent to Buchenwald, moves…

Movie Review: Mary (2019)

Remember the opening of John Carpenter’s “The Fog”? A salty old man tells a spooky story beside a campfire, perfectly setting the folkloric tone, and then Carpenter introduces his sinisterly serene seaside town like it’s a sleeping, snoring creature . . . Well, do not expect such magical mood-building with Mary, a damp fishnet of…

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